Sunday, June 16, 2019

Choco....late

By Bob 

Chocolate...mmmmm!  
Being a card carrying member of 'Chocoholics Anonymous' I'm aware that our 12 step program reads: with nuts, without nuts, dark with cranberries and hazelnuts, medium light with mint, cream filled with orange etc.

Alcoholics must find the people they have harmed though their habit and apologize while we, the dark cocoa indulgers, try to find someone to share our passion.

While cruising the windward islands of the Caribbean I was fortunate enough to visit cocoa plantations, production facilities, and even a museum of chocolate in Grenada. Of course, it was only prudent and necessary to procure sufficient examples to conduct the necessary research to understand what might be the truly superior product.

Just recently in Chiapas, tucked in the far southwest corner of Mexico near to Guatemala, we were taken to a small but well bragged upon home of a world renowned chocolate maker.

 In a small and very rough concrete building we were introduced to four women of quiet and simple dress and manner who took us outside to a small backyard. 



There we began by selecting a cacao pod from a small tree in the yard and tasted the flavor of the beans right off the tree.



 Because this was a very small hands-on boutique chocolate maker we saw the quick drying process on a wood fire heated grill, 



and even took a turn at the grinding pestle used to reduce the dried beans to a fine dusty paste. 




From there a bit of sugar and a few secret spices, (one of which we could tell was nutmeg), were added to create a most fresh a delicious block of a fine dark absolutely addictive confection. 

We remained to enjoy a wonderful lunch of fresh tamales, avocado, veggies and juices.




 We felt it only fitting and essential to purchase a few examples to help us remember the unique and quite tasty experience. What we learned is that the particular strain of cocoa grown there and the secret recipe of spices added make all the difference. 

Step 12 eat more Chiapas chocolate!

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